The city of Newark has found itself paying nearly $400,000 after reaching a settlement agreement with patrons injured by a rotten tree in a city park. Multiple people were struck and injured by the tree when it fell after the city’s failure to maintain it.
Attorneys for the injured claim that not only did the city fail to perform maintenance, but it also botched the very planting of the tree in its location. They believe city workers should have known it would pose a danger to park patrons. In addition, the tree was planted too deep, thereby depriving the roots of necessary oxygen and nutrients and resulting in the rotting. One attorney stated that a trained arborist should have known there was a problem. Nonetheless, after the accident, the city removed 12 eucalyptus trees from Birch Grove Park, and replaced them with 29 new trees including oak, sycamore, and pistachios.
The injuries of the park patrons on whom the tree fell were severe. One received injuries to her legs and ankles which required multiple surgeries and hospitalizations. Another suffered a broken femur. Other family members sustained bruises and various pains that required medical attention and expenses.
The safety of any public park patron is a premises liability issue. A park goer has the right to reasonably assume that the premises are safe and secure for enjoyment. In the event that safety is breached, as was the case in this situation, the city that owns a public park can, and should, be held liable for damages. Discuss your legal options with a knowledgeable attorney if you have been injured on public premises. You may be entitled to compensation.